User:Tristan Thomas/Cotswold Water Park
Region name is in Country name.
Towns and Villages in the surrounding area
Thanks to an ice age xxxx years ago, much of the area has plentiful gravel and sand deposits just below the surface. In the last fifty years, these have begun to be quarried by mineral companies, resulting in the creation of 147 pits, which have been remodelled into lakes. Initially, when digging, no thought was given to potential uses after gravel extraction and so the pits were dug with steep sides in rectangular shapes, making them totally unusable for wildlife, fishing and water-sports. In later years, they were often remodelled and sold to individual buyers, resulting in the lakes currently being owned by more than 40 individuals, the majority of whom use them privately. Recently, however, the potential of the area has been realised meaning that the Water Park area is now host to a myriad of pleasure lakes, hotels and second homes. And there is still more-according to the Cotswold Water Park Society, 7 mineral companies are currently extracting 2 million tonnes of gravel and sand a year, with permission granted for a further 3.7 square kilometres. Current estimates reckon there are supplies for more than 50 years still present.
The Water Park is split into two main sections-East and West. The Western section is the collection of lakes enclosed by Somerford Keynes, South Cerney and Ashton Keynes. The Eastern section is the collection surrounding Fairford. A central section is beginning to emerge as the majority of quarrying is currently taking place in that area and will do in the future, namely the area between Cricklade and Down Ampney. Down between the East and West section is the A419; a main trunk road joining the M4 to the M5. Broadly to the North is Cirencester and to the South is Swindon, both major towns, with Swindon bordering on a city. You are likely to be staying in or near the Western section, which is where the majority of public lakes are, including hotels, pleasure lakes and holiday homes.
The Water Park, as with all of the UK is not the hottest part of the world, but by no means is it unpleasant. Summers are typically warm and damp, but not too much of either and winters are generally mild and wet, with snow rare. This means that it it is pleasant enough to take part in most activities all year round, save for the occasional cold snap. It is advisable however, to "be prepared"! The weather can change quite suddenly and in the summer it is not uncommon to have rain followed by sunshine followed by rain again! The majority of the time you will be treated to a beautiful English day, with no rain, wind or sleet!
Getting to the Water Park by train is easiest by aiming to finish your journey at Kemble Station, just outside of Kemble (surprisingly!) This is normally achieved by going via Swindon, which is serviced by very frequent services from London Paddington, as well as other major cities. From Kemble, your best option is a short taxi journey to your destination, but if public transport is the only option, then there are buses from Kemble to other locations, although it is worth checking whether it might be quicker to get a bus straight from Swindon.
The Water Park is about 12 miles from Junction 15 on the M4 and about 30 miles from the M5. It can also be reached within an hour from Oxford, Worcester, Gloucester, Bristol and Salisbury. Arriving by car is the easiest method of transport, as it can be useful for getting around during your stay. However, not having a car is by no means the end of the world, as the area is rightly famed for its walks and bike rides!
In order to reach the Water Park by bus, you normally need to go via Swindon, which can be easily reached from London and other major cities. From Swindon, there are then many services running between the surrounding villages, however, although reliable, these are often infrequent to the smaller villages, so it's necessary to check before you travel.
The Water Park is within easy driving distance of Bristol Airport at about 50 miles, as well as Heathrow, Southampton and Birmingham, all of which are under 100 miles away. If you are fortunate enough to have access to a light aircraft, then you can fly in to the recently renamed Cotswold Airport, just outside the village of Kemble and experience the pure luxury of private aircraft flight! From the major airports, it is simplicity itself to hire a car or hop on a train to Kemble, via Swindon.
Getting around in the Water Park is pretty easy thanks to the relatively short distances involved. By far the best way is to cycle or walk. As detailed later, there are a multitude of excellent cycle paths and footpaths and many attractions are within an easy distance. The closest cycle hire firm is xxxx in yyyy. However, if you do need to go that little bit further afield, there are many taxi firms in Cirencester and Swindon, all of which offer decent rates and reliable service. The closest to the Water Park is probably xxxx, but they are all very similar. As mentioned earlier, there are quite a few small bus routes visiting the surrounding villages, but you are best advised to check in advance, as these can occasionally require a much longer journey than wanted.